Autopilot

blood-relic-dvdBLOOD RELIC

2.5 Stars 2005/18/87m

“A voodoo curse has been unleashed…again!”

Director/Writer: J. Christian Ingvordsen / Writer: Matthew Howe / Cast: Joshua Park, Jennifer Lauren Grant, Debbie Rochon, John Christian, Kelly Ray, Jesse Steccato, Caitlin Saibins, Melanie Radermaker, Meyer de Leeuw, Billy Drago, Lawrence Starr.

Body Count: 15

Laughter Lines: “[You want to] Go into a basement with a mad killer on the loose?”


An air force officer goes ape and kills four others at a base before hiding the talisman he wears and turning himself in. Twenty-three years later he’s released and immediately returns to reclaim the pendant. Unfortunately for him, the base has since been turned into a struggling museum and one of the student employees has found the object. When the youthful employees gather together for an after-hours party a pilot uniformed psycho begins stalking and slaughtering them.

This cheap production wastes little time in cutting to the murder spree, but once it’s underway things surprisingly become a bit slow and tedious with long, drawn out scenes of dialogue (“cursed talisman blah blah blah…”) and contrived situations that serve to trap the victims inside the old hangar.

There are some wild oversights – mainly the fact that the reformed killer hasn’t aged at all in over twenty years – and why does the killer bother removing one girl’s clothes before killing her? Debbie Rochon brightens things up as one of the fleeing students, and the identity of the killer isn’t quite as obvious as it initially seems. With a more generous budget, this take-it-or-leave-it video flick could’ve carried minor cult appeal.

Blurbs-of-interest: Debbie Rochon’s other slasher appearances include American NightmareBleedFinal ExaminationHead Cheerleader Dead Cheerleader, and Varsity Blood.

Where Tin Tin fears to tread

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CUB

3 Stars  2014/84m

A.k.a. Welp / Camp Evil

Director/Writer: Jonas Govaerts / Writer: Roel Mondelaers / Cast: Maurcie Luijten, Evelien Bosmans, Titus De Voogdt, Stef Aerts, Jan Hammenecker, Gill Eeckelaert, Louis Lemmens.

Body Count: 17


The surface of this crowd-funded Belgian campers-in-the-woods horror may scream Friday the 13th at the top of its lungs, but the comparable text pretty much ends there. Europe has kicked ass creating quality slasher films for some time now, subverting standardized clichés and presenting things in a divertingly multicultural light.

Disappointingly, Cub doesn’t quite live up to the standards of, say, Haute Tension or Cold Prey, and the viewing arc followed the saddening Starts Amazing and Gradually Loses its Way trajectory.

Still, there’s a lot to like in this tale of a pack of boy scouts from Antwerp, their three pack leaders (including obligatory hot blonde girl, Jasmijn), whose jamboree into the wilderness plants them in the centre of a nightmare, when their nominated site is unavailable to them, thanks to a couple of jerks with a quad-buggy, and they have to go further into the creepy woods.

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An exchange with a rotund cop informs us that a nearby bus factory closed down, suicides followed, and the locals are superstitious of the woods. Add to this the legend of Kai, the Werewolf Boy told by the Akela, and suggestible, possibly-traumatised outcast Sam eats it up.

Of course, the legend is true. Sort of. A wood-masked feral child is indeed lurking, stealing things from the camp, and a handful of murders ensue: The fat cop vanishes, and one of the buggy-jerks runs into a Goonies-style trap that ultimately pins a beehive into his torso and his torso into a tree. Cool.

The final third of the film gradually deteriorates as the tidbits we’ve been thrown about what’s in the woods is kept too ambiguous to comprehend, and a twist that can be seen coming through the trees some way off, recalling the rather stupid sudden-change-of-allegiance resolution in Texas Chainsaw 3D.

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But the film is particularly nicely shot, well acted, and has plenty of neat moments, with demises by rustic sub-Saw traps, and the balls to go after the boy scouts, which most films would shy away from, but it never seems to really reach its full potential, giving away a particularly decent moment in the prologue that should’ve been saved to the end.

For a change from the usual cowgirl slasher conventions, Cub is a worthwhile one-time venture.

Honor and obey

possession-vhs

POSSESSION: UNTIL DEATH DO YOU PART

1 Stars  1987/93m

Directors: Lloyd A. Simandl & Michael Mazo / Writers: Lyne J. Grantham & Lloyd A. Simandl / Cast: John Robert Johnston, Melissa Martin, Cat Williams, Leanne Jaheny, Samra Wolfin, April Alkins, Geraldine Farrell, Monica Marko, Rupert Grant, Shane Carlsson.

Body Count: 14

Laughter Lines: “There won’t be anybody up there – we’ll be ALL. BY. OURSELVES.”


Irredeemably boring T&A fare, notable only for starring the bitchy girl, Tamara, from Jason Takes Manhattan as the final girl.

She, Madeline (Sharlene Martin, credited here as Melissa), is abducted one night by a whiny-voiced, mother-fixated loon, Frankie, who takes girls home, forces them to dress in Mom’s clothes, and, if they’re not ‘nice’ enough, are murdered.

Madeline succeeds in escaping, but the police are almost completely apathetic, and it’s her gang of indistinguishably cloney gal-pals who suggest driving around to look for the guy, whom they run into almost straight away. Ill-prepared for this venture, they flee, cops intervene, Frankie escapes in a rowing boat WHICH EXPLODES WHEN SHOT AT.

An exploding wooden rowing boat.

Shortly thereafter, the girls – who might be escorts, it was unclear – go to a strip club and arrange for a couple of the suspiciously camp dancers to join them up at so-and-so’s uncle’s cabin in the woods for a bachelorette party.

Acting, hair, and fashion choices - about the only things you'll remember from Possession

Bad acting, hair, and fashion choices – about the only things you’ll remember from Possession

Predictably, Frankie ain’t dead and soon comes looking for Madeline once again, offing a couple of her friends who didn’t go on the trip, but hangs around long enough to hear an answerphone message that conveniently gives the full address of the cabin. Lord.

The girls party, make out with the gay strippers, Frankie comes along. That’s about all you need to know. It’s bodaciously unexciting, replete with clichés so dense you’d need a Humvee to plough through them: One girl goes off on her own to photograph trees! The car won’t start. The girl who had a bath conveniently never pulled the plug so the killer can drown her in it. It doesn’t stop.

Even when the killer’s presence is discovered, the last girls standing abandon the comparable fortitude of the cabin (which has a push-bar door!?) to run into the woods, where the killer, disabled by a speargun arrow while they flee, somehow teleports in front of them to jump out from behind a tree, and so they run BACK to the fucking cabin where there’s a gun!

Said woods are mysterious and wild, we know this because every time a character walks through them pan pipe music plays. This might mean something if the killer were a Native American rather than a camp-voiced suburban mama’s boy.

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Brimming over with protracted T&A scenes that go thusly: Girl has shower, girl lathers up own boobs for ages, girl dresses up in kinky clothes, girl is stabbed >>> Girl has bath, girl washes self, girl dresses and paints own nails, girl is drowned in bath she never bothered emptying >>> Girl has shower, girl soaps up boobs, girl’s throat is cut in shower. Somebody somewhere does not want women to exercise good hygiene, or worse, has some real issues with their gender, note when one young woman talks about a guy she met and her friend replies: “You were in a BAR?” Why the hell not? She’s young and vivacious, should she only be allowed in the kitchen or the convent?

A plodding, dullard of a feature with absolutely nothing to recommend it unless pastel fashions, awful hair, and naked chicks in the shower is enough. With fourteen bodies dropped, there’s hardly even any grue to speak of.

This is a film nobody need possess.

Blurb-of-interest: Director Simandl also helmed the equally barren Ripper 2: Letters from Within.

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